Travel down the Suwannee River with paddling partners Don Guth and Maria Nordstrom. This following daily travel journal was originally published by Guth on the Eddyline Kayaks Owners Group facebook page. Before we jump into the journal entries, here’s Guth’s best pitch to get you into kayak camping…
“Kayaking for Maria and I revolves around being outside in nature and the solitude we find out on the water. Planning our excursions during workdays enables us to find the stillness we seek away from the modern world. One of the best things we are taking away from our Suwannee River paddle is memories. A glimpse of a photo, the smell of pine trees, the rush of water, transports us back and sets us in motion planning the next experience!”
I remember doing research on paddling the Suwannee River years ago, so glad I have an adventure seeking partner to do these things with... our first part of the run started out at Suwannee River State Park meeting up with an outfitter that was recommended by “Kayak Cliff”, Lucas from Suwannee River Canoe Rentals picked Maria and I up promptly at 8:15am and secured our Eddies to his carrier and we were off to the put in at the Suwannee River Wayside Park a short 30 miles down the road.
After the drop we said goodbye to Lucas and treated ourselves to breakfast under a beautiful Cedar tree at the top of the ramp before loading up the Sitka Lt and Maria’s Equinox…Just after a short time we spotted a 8ft ish gator slipping into the cool water then a 6fter soon afterwards followed by a small 3fter.
We had a good 13-mile paddle under overcast skies to keep us cool for our first overnight stay at Woods Ferry River Camp. How lucky are we to have such a beautiful river to paddle in Northern Florida. We broke out the Jetboil and got to work putting together Fajita’s before a wash off and a bit of rest.
After arriving at Woods Ferry Camp last evening and the Fajitas dinner I laid down for a few minutes while it was still evening and opened my eyes at 11:30 finding complete darkness, I extended the use of my pillow until 5:30am, then got to my feet to whip up a couple of egg and bacon sandwiches with Maria’s rocket fuel coffee on the side. Good fuel for today’s task, 18 miles of paddling. After getting everything stuffed back into our water sleds, we were off.
The fog didn’t stick around too long, and we found ourselves enjoying another picturesque day on the water. Photos can’t do the Suwannee River corridor justice, the prehistoric Cedars and huge Oak trees lining our path in shades of greens and yellows edged with the sharpness of the limestone shelves that make up the Florida Peninsula. Carried along by the 1.3mph current we drift though incredible scenery that time doesn't have an influence on.
Today's wildlife of Osprey and Buzzards were pushed aside when we saw what seemed like a stone had released itself from 40 feet above and came tumbling down to the river’s edge, it was actually a huge snapping turtle... it sprouted its head and legs from the safety of its shell and shuffled itself back into the cool water.
Maria pointed out a perfect sand bank to take a break for lunch and to stretch our legs before heading to our final destination of the day, Holton Creek River Camp. 18 miles of paddling kayaks loaded up with camping supplies is a definite workout. Then the extraction of our dry bags up to our screened in shelter. A simple dinner, shower and nap was definitely in order. I woke at 1am to use the facilities and was amazed by the sounds of all the night critters lost in the darkness of the forest. Then I rested in preparation for our final run from Holton Creek to Suwannee River State Park in the morning.
We departed when most people would be out having brunch.
The Eddie’s would only be in the water for an 11-mile float on the final day. There’s so much to see and enjoy on the Suwannee, the geology, trees of Oak, Cypress, Hickory and Magnolia showing off their brilliant white flowers. The sounds of so many different birds in the forest and circling Ospreys and Red Tail Hawks searching for their next meals as well!
Halfway through today’s adventure Maria Nordstrom pointed out a gorgeous white sandbank to stretch the legs and break out the Jetboil for a hot lunch and drinks. We floated along with the current just enjoying the afternoon until we reached our takeout at the Suwannee River State Park where we had shuttled our cars two mornings prior, near the top of the boat ramp, under the shaded coolness of so many trees. It was 2pm and time to de-rig and load up the water sleds and find a meal before hitting the road. Will we be back to paddle the river again? Yes, in the fall of course, when the trees begin to shed their foliage of oranges, yellows, and reds.
Thanks to Don Guth and Maria Nordstrom for sharing their fun story with us! If you've gone on an exciting paddling trip recently that you'd like to share with the Eddyline community, email us at email@example.com